Benzodiazepine Use In The United States
Temazepam has been on the market since 1981 but wasn’t always recognized as a dangerous drug. Nowadays the use of benzodiazepines has become much more widespread. In 2011 there were 8.5 million prescriptions of temazepam dispensed. Granted not everybody who is prescribed a benzodiazepine will use it, develop a tolerance, addiction or dependency, but there’s certainly a chance.
The Food and Drug Administration clearly defines use, physical dependence, tolerance and addiction as follows:
- Use is characterized by misuse of the drug for non-medical purposes, often in combination with other psychoactive substances.
- Physical dependence is a state of adaptation that is manifested by a specific withdrawal syndrome that can be produced by abrupt cessation, rapid dose reduction, decreasing blood level of the drug and/or administration of an antagonist.
- Tolerance is a state of adaptation in which exposure to a drug induces changes that result in a diminution of one or more of the drug’s effects over time.
- Addiction is a primary, chronic, neurobiological disease with genetic, psychosocial and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations.
It can be beneficial to you or your loved one’s recovery to understand how many people use benzos and what the consequences may be. From the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), in the U.S. “there were an estimated 345,691 emergency department visits attributed to benzodiazepines in 2010, a statistically significant increase from 271,698 visits in 2008.”
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What Is Temazepam And Why Are People Abusing It?
Temazepam (Restoril) belongs to a class of central nervous system depressants known as benzodiazepines, which are some of the most widely used drugs in the country. Within the group of benzodiazepines, temazepam is among the five most prescribed as well as five most encountered on the illicit drug market.
Temazepam is the generic version of Restoril, which is a hypnotic-sedative that you may recognize as a capsule meant to be taken as a short-term remedy for insomnia. The sedating effect of Restoril isn’t just helpful for sleep, it can also make the drug attractive to someone who’s seeking intoxication.
When someone is suffering from addiction to benzodiazepines, they often resemble those with alcoholism and some of the problems they face might be lowered inhibitions, difficulty staying focused or becoming aggressive. Some of the following intoxication effects of benzodiazepines can be seen with alcohol use as well:
- reduced anxiety
- feelings of well-being
- lowered inhibitions
- slurred speech
- poor concentration
- impaired coordination
Americans abusing benzodiazepines often mix them with other drugs like cocaine, opioids, methamphetamine or alcohol to enhance or decrease the effects of each substance; this is known as polysubstance use and it can quickly result in polysubstance dependence, which is basically when you become so used to the elation you get from one or more drugs that you become addicted to all of them.
Some people might even mix Restoril with other depressants such as heroin, alcohol or prescription opioids to increase the euphoria. Some use it in an attempt to wean off of opioid drugs to avoid anxiety, insomnia, and other withdrawal symptoms.
Combining stimulants can be dangerous and can result in substance-induced psychosis, anxiety and panic attacks. Restoril may also heighten the effects of depressants like alcohol, increasing the risk of respiratory distress and overdose.
What Are The Consequences Of Abusing Temazepam?
It can be beneficial to you or your loved one’s recovery to understand how many people use benzos and what the consequences can be. From the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), “there were an estimated 345,691 emergency department visits attributed to benzodiazepines in 2010, a statistically significant increase from 271,698 visits in 2008.”
Benzodiazepine use can also mean that you’re using more than what’s prescribed or even using a prescription that isn’t yours. It can mean that you’re diverting it, selling it, using it after the use by date or even doctor shopping in an attempt to get your script filled.
Unfortunately, benzodiazepine use can result in loss of certain friends, lack of trust from family, a hard time keeping a job, or even health problems. Some of those health problems are a result of side effects of temazepam and may even require immediate medical attention; these can include:
- slowed pulse
- lowered blood pressure
- slowed breathing
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, or eyes
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
How Addictive Is Temazepam?
Addiction is a natural consequence of the frequency, amount and duration that you use a mood altering substance—it truly can happen to anybody.
When you use benzodiazepines, they amplify the effects of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which is responsible for slowing down brain activity and the neurons that cause anxiety and stress. That’s why temazepam often makes people seem extremely relaxed; they may exhibit a mild euphoria and overall sense of well-being.
As a person continues abusing temazepam and other benzos, they begin to build up a tolerance to them and eventually begin to experience physical dependence followed by addiction. By definition, addiction is a chronic relapse disease which shares a lot of the same characteristics with asthma, diabetes, and hypertension. One of the best indicators of physical addiction is if you experience withdrawal syndrome when the drug is removed.
People generally experience the most intense physical withdrawal anywhere from one to four days after they stop using Restoril. The physical withdrawal from benzodiazepines is similar to those of alcohol withdrawal and may include:
- muscle cramps
- heart palpitations
- abdominal pain
This period of withdrawal is followed by a psychological withdrawal lasting anywhere from 10 to 14 days. An addiction to benzodiazepines can result in psychological withdrawals when you stop using the drug because parts of your brain continue craving for more of the drug. The following symptoms can be tough to deal with alone and in some cases, they’ve been known to result in a drug relapse.
- panic attacks
- intense drug cravings
- memory problems
Some of the more severe symptoms include:
- co-occurring disorders
The psychological experience of addiction can also include a drug rebound anywhere from one to four days after you stop taking them. Rebound is similar to the withdrawal symptoms and happens when you suddenly stop using a drug and the opposite effect occurs and it causes the very symptoms it was treating in the first place. With benzodiazepines, rebound symptoms often include intense anxiety, insomnia, dysphoria, and seizures.
Temazepam Dependence—How To Safely Detox?
Physical dependence to temazepam is generally a result of tolerance that frequently ends with painful and dangerous withdrawal. Individuals who use benzodiazepines risk having a seizure if they stop taking them abruptly. Professional detoxification is almost always necessary to avoid the risk of seizure and/or death.
What Types Of Treatments Help With Temazepam Addiction?
Not every treatment program will work the same for everyone. That’s why there are options at Vertava Health. Our treatment specialists understand that people come from different walks of life, have different religious preferences and have even battled against different types of addictions.
We have found that an individualized treatment plan is the best way to ensure long-term recovery. Some of the different treatment programs offered at Vertava Health include:
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
- Family Counseling
- Group Counseling
- Individual Counseling
- Biblical Recovery Therapy / Christian Drug Rehab
- Life Skills Instruction and Training
- Yoga And Mindfulness
- Adventure Therapy
- Alumni Groups
Freedom From Addiction Can Begin Here
If you or a loved one battle an addiction to temazepam, contact one of our treatment specialists today. We look forward to helping you get on the road to recovery.